Category Archives: This Just In

Compete in the first annual NYS Summer Classic Fishing Tournament

This summer anglers all across New York state will be competing for their share of cash and prizes in the first annual NYS Summer Classic Fishing Tournament. The Grand Prize could reach up to $250,000. Created in the wake of the successful Winter Classic event held this past winter (January & February), the Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is expected to draw over 3,000 competing anglers, which would yield a $20,000 Grand Prize (awarded by random draw from the 10 first place anglers at the awards ceremony held at Captain Jack’s on Sodus Bay September 2nd).

This 10-week long statewide event starts on June 17th (the opening of bass season) and runs through August 31st. Anglers can fish any NY State waterway while targeting the 10 Divisional species. These species include pike, lake trout, walleye, carp, catfish, pickerel, crappie, yellow perch, bass, and panfish.

There are two additional cash awards for the overall largest rock bass ($500) and overall largest bowfin ($250). The divisions will start by paying out the Top 3 for each species and increase up to the Top 25 as more anglers join the event. In the Youth Division event, the Top 3 in each division will be awarded with trophies, U.S. savings bonds, and product awards, while the main event will pay out all cash, plus tackle awards for the Top 3 in each division category. As more anglers get involved and the event grows, so do the cash and prize awards with Kayaks, 4-wheelers, Toyota Tundra’s, or Starcraft boats given away weekly!

Anglers are invite to join the NYS Fishing Tournament

Anglers are invite to join the NYS Fishing Tournament!

How to register?

You can register online with a credit card off the tournament website: Online Registration or visit the 55 weigh-in plus locations across the state to bring fish in to, where they’ll accept registrations. Registration cost for the event is only $25/angler for the main event (with an optional Lunker Pool for an additional $10) and $5/youth angler (16 years of age and younger).

See who’s ahead — leaderboard!

Want to see who’s ahead? Check out the live online leaderboards that will keep everyone up to date. See the leading fish for both the main event and youth event, as well as who is leading for the weekly awards: Weekly Leader Board

You can even follow the event on Facebook for the latest tournament information, pictures, and updates.

Additional information for the Summer Classic event can be found at:

http://www.NYSsummerclassic.com

Contact Tournament Director Tim Thomas at (585) 330-0494 or info@fksportfishing.com with any questions or inquiries.

 

Winter Camping and Outdoor Recreation at ‘Base Camp Oswego County’ Feb. 25

WILLIAMSTOWN –Outdoor enthusiasts can learn winter survival skills and the basics of winter camping while exploring the grounds of Camp Zerbe at the second annual Base Camp Oswego County, a winter outdoor expo, Saturday, Feb. 25.

The event is sponsored by Pinnacle Builders USA Inc., Oswego Expeditions, the Oswego County Search and Rescue Team, Oswego County Division of Parks and Recreation, Oswego County Tourism Office, and several volunteers who are experienced in outdoor recreation.

Workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the lodge and on the grounds of the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe, 253 State Route 104 East in the town of Williamstown.

Outdoor winter camping on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown.

OUTDOOR WINTER CAMPING ADVENTURE – The second annual Base Camp Oswego County will take place Saturday, Feb. 25, on the grounds of Camp Zerbe near Williamstown. A variety of field trips and workshops will be held during the day, with optional overnight camping. For event information visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223. (Photo by Mary Ellen Barbeau.)

“The purpose of Base Camp Oswego County is to introduce people to the basics of winter camping and Oswego County’s great resources for outdoor recreation,” said event chairman and County Legislator Jake Mulcahey of Oswego.   “We have a full day of field trips and workshops scheduled. Overnight camping will be available Saturday night, Feb. 25, for those who bring their own winter camping gear and register in advance. This year we’ll have designated areas for family camping and adult only sites.”

Workshop topics include cross-country ski and snowshoe hikes, snow shelter building, winter survival skills, GPS and orienteering, working with sled dogs and skijoring, camp cooking techniques , fat bikes, and ice fishing. Admission to the workshops is free. There is a $10 registration fee per tent for overnight camping.

Food vendors will be on site during the day. Participants should dress for the weather and bring their own sleds, skis and snowshoes if they have them. A limited number of snowshoes will be available for loan.

Overnight camping will be available for those who pre-register and bring their own winter camping gear. To register, call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223 or visit http://bit.ly/2kb8TJr

Two clinics will be held prior to the event for first-time winter campers. Jake Mulcahey and Barb Hartman will conduct “Introduction to Winter Camping” clinics at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 at the Mexico Public Library, 3269 Main St., Mexico; and Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Murdock’s Bicycles and Sports, 177 W. First St., Oswego. Those planning to camp overnight should bring all of their own gear and food for Saturday night dinner and Sunday morning breakfast. Overnight campers will be asked to register and sign an insurance waiver.

The Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe is owned by Oswego County and overseen by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Division of Parks and Recreation. Any proceeds from the event will be donated to the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau for youth recreation programming.

For information, visit www.facebook.com/BaseCampOswego or call Oswego Expeditions at 315-561-0223.

The Discovery of Species

As tech-savvy human beings armed with our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps and other excellent technologies, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re not just curious explorers or chroniclers of the manufactured and natural worlds. We’re animals, too, and are part of the community of strange and exotic creatures that we investigate and dutifully record. In discovery of the world, we discover something integral to our own being. This year is already a fascinating foray into that very exploration, with several new species coming to light in some of the most inhospitable or least expected environments.

A Tiny Frog in Karnataka, India

This guy's chirp sounds like a cricket's.

Hey there, little fella. [Image: www.techtimes.com/]

The Laterite narrow-mouthed frog was recently discovered in the Indian state of Karnataka in a namesake laterite marsh area that occurs around rural and semi-urban human settlements. It likely remained undocumented because of its diminutive stature—it is roughly the size of a thumbnail. But its discovery in a developed area is instructive and a crisp reminder that, just because there’s an established human presence somewhere, doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to discover!

Creepy-Crawly in the Southern Oregon Coast Range, Oregon

[Image: www.phys.org]

What has eight legs, too many eyes, and probably wears a neon sign that blazes NOPE? Why, Cryptomaster behemoth, of course! [Image: www.phys.org/]

This spider was recently found in the woods of southwestern Oregon. It was named “behemoth” because its size outstrips nearly all of the other nearly 4,100 described Laniatores, and “Cryptomaster” because it’s good at remaining unseen. Thankfully the behemoth, like most spiders, is perhaps as disinterested in us as we are it and keeps itself hidden beneath decaying leaves and fallen trees of the old-growth forests in the Southern Oregon Coast Range.

Octopod says, “Aloha!” in Hawaiian Archipelago

Thanks, Okeanos!

Another previously unknown creature of the deep to grab our attention and make us think about ecosystems beyond our commutes? Thanks, Okeanos! [Image: www.itv.com/]

Researchers also made another many-legged discovery this year: a disarmingly cute octopod scientists are calling “Casper.” The indeterminately friendly octopus has un-muscled arms, with only a single row of the usual suction cups, and beady black eyes set adorably in its milky-white mantle. But Casper hasn’t been much described by researchers beyond its cursory appearance, as it revealed itself to NOAA scientists while Okeanos Explorer, the remotely operated underwater vehicle, explored the Hawaiian Archipelago. What we do know is that it dwells much deeper in the ocean than its known octopus cousins and that the wee cephalopod serves to keep our expectations in check.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for this Jelly…Near the Mariana Trench

Cue Twilight Zone music.

In an environment called and characterized as the Midnight Zone, it helps to have glowing reproductive organs, which scientists suppose this jellyfish has in the golden orbs that are very likely its gonads. [Image: www.eutopia.buzz/]

The Mariana Trench is one of the last great terrestrial frontiers to thwart explorers and befuddle scientists, and it’s no wonder that it remains a consistent source of discovery and veritable fount of new species. What is a wonder are the extraterrestrial qualities of the creatures that thrive in that deep, dark pit beneath the ocean. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is in the midst of conducting a survey of the baseline formation and the areas around the trench that began April 20 and will extend to July 10. Already several new and exciting species have been encountered, but the jellyfish with a “jack-o-lantern meets the future of spaceship engineering” appearance has been a thus-far highlight of the exploration. With more than a month to go, we’d all do well to keep our eyes peeled for more live cam weirdness and intrigue!

Humans are one of the most adaptive and widespread species on the planet, thanks in large part to our combined intelligence and technology. This indispensable combo not only helps us persevere in all sorts of extreme conditions, but also allows us to engage with curiosity in our surroundings. As technologies improve, we are able to explore our world at deeper depths, in greater detail on microscopic and subatomic levels, across more of the electromagnetic spectrum, and sometimes—perhaps just to keep our collective ego in check—right in front of our faces.

*hop*

Or even on our faces! (Happy belated, David!) [Image: www.primogif.com/]

The moral of the story is, of course, that you can get out, explore, and maybe even find a new species in places you have been to before. Our Pocket Ranger® apps are a technology that is here to help. Whether your discovery is new to the scientific community or to you in your observations, it’s your duty as a human to investigate! And it’s always worth the adventure.

Celebrate National Bike Month

Spring means an influx of cyclists on city streets and in state parks, and who could blame them? It’s a truly magical experience to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of a saddle. With this in mind, it only makes sense that May is the most appropriate time to celebrate National Bike Month!

National Bike Month.

Get on your bike this month! [Image: http://lacrescent.lib.mn.us/]

The League of American Bicyclists created National Bike Month back in 1956 as a way to highlight the many benefits of regular cycling (a form of regular exercise, environmentally friendly, and a great way to see the outdoors to name a few!). Since its foundation, National Bike Month has grown immensely popular, increasing by more than 62 percent between 2000 and 2013.

There are many events to take part in this month to celebrate National Bike Month. Here are just a few to keep in mind.

Bike to Work Day

Bike commuters.

This is our type of traffic jam. [Image: http://www.bloomberg.com/]

Probably the most well-known facet of National Bike Month is Bike to Work Day, which is a part of Bike to Work Week (currently going on at the time this article was written, May 16–20). Bike to Work Day falls on Friday, May 20 and is exactly what the name describes—it’s a day for people to ride their bikes to work as a show of unity among the cycling community as well as a way to raise awareness to the many benefits of riding a bike.

Different cities across the nation have different ways of celebrating the day. In May 2010, 43 out of 51 of the United States’ largest cities hosted Bike to Work Day events, with Denver clocking in with the highest rate of participation that year. In 2012, Boulder, Colorado had free breakfast available from 11 organizations to its more than 1,200 participants; Bethesda, Maryland unveiled 100 new bike racks; and Chicago offered free tune-ups and balaclavas to riders. San Francisco also makes a huge event of the day every year as they have a humungous cycling community.

Bike to School Day

Kids cycling.

You can go to school AND have fun getting there—who knew, right? [Image: http://www.secondglass.net/]

The first Bike to School Day was in May 2012, and since then it’s become an increasingly popular event. It was inspired by the already popular Walk to School Day, which is typically celebrated nationwide in October. Instead, this event calls for students to hop on their bikes and ride to school on a day in May.

This year’s Bike to School Day already passed on May 4, but 2017’s is already scheduled and will be on May 10!

CycloFemme

Cyclofemme.

Just a bunch of awesome lady cyclists, no big deal. [Image: http://www.wellandgood.com/]

Although this event has also already passed (hosted on Sunday, May 8), it’s worthy of mention regardless. CycloFemme is a day of cycling in recognition of the powerful women in our lives that opted for the freedom to be different and wear pants and ride bikes and break down barriers like a bunch of admirable badasses. It’s a way to empower women to get outdoors and ride their bikes while also getting rid of the stereotypes within this male-dominated sport.

Local Events

Biking.

Now go ride off into the sunset, you bike lovers! [Image: http://www.cyclingespana.com/]

There are many events that can found locally within your own cycling community, too. And if you’re having trouble finding one, then you can plan your own event. It’s a great way to kickstart a cycling fervor in your area (if there isn’t one already slowly building).

As with all your outdoor adventures, make sure you bring our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps with you to enhance your journey. Happy riding!

Start to Thaw Out in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York with the Annual Maple Weekends

Contributed by Cattaraugus County Tourism

People in a cafeteria area at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Cattaraugus County has many tree-lined hills covered with maple trees. This makes March and April some of the best times of year. Why, you ask? Maple season! Time for some sweet, syrupy goodness! With all these beautiful maple trees around, you can bet that we have some of the best tasting maple syrup around as well as maple farms that range from family size to full-on, year ’round productions.

All of New York State shares in this splendid time of year when the world around us starts to thaw out and the sap starts to flow. Therefore, we devote two maple weekends each year to our maple farms. You can tour one of the participating farms, try samples, join in on fun activities, or just purchase some of this liquid goodness. So how does warming up with a hot pile of pancakes sound to ease the cold of winter?

March is the beginning of a season of tradition where local maple farms begin to tap the trees in hopes of some sweet sap flowing down into their buckets. The time period between winter and spring is best for collection, with temperatures around 40 degrees being ideal. Nowadays, trees are tapped with cordless drills and small plastic spouts are placed to run the sap into a hanging bucket. But technology is always changing the ways people do anything, exploding into this process as well. Some maple farms have intricate webs of tubing, going straight from the tree to the tank with vacuums to draw out that delicious sap. Each farm uses the same basic idea to get the sap, but have different techniques and processing systems to bring syrup to your table.

People in a cafeteria at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

During the maple weekends of March 19–20 and April 2–3 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. each day, some of our maple farms open their sugarhouses, set out the samples, and invite all to share in their love of one of the sweetest products Mother Nature produces. This activity is great for families and is kid-friendly. So lose those winter blues by heading outdoors, learning about your surroundings, and thawing out with Maple Weekends!

Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville

Offers wagon rides to their authentic old-fashioned Sugar Shack where they have delicious samples waiting for you to try! Have you ever tasted maple wine? Learn a little about the various grades of syrup, sample the different ranges, eat a maple donut, or just stand next to evaporator and take in the smell of boiling sap. You will be sniffing your coat the rest of the week! Starting out as a hobby over 30 years ago, this huge farm now boasts a restaurant serving all your maple favorites as well as free-range turkey dinners. Maple is used in almost every dish that is served, making anything you order sweet and savory.

Wright Farms in Farmersville

It’s worth a visit to see how they are able to manage 8,000 taps. Five generations of Wright’s have worked to maintain the tradition of producing maple syrup and maple products on the farm since 1840. In fact, one of those generations was inducted into the American Maple Museum’s Hall of Fame in 1978 for his contributions to the maple industry. Besides syrup, they make maple cream, which can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, french toast, hot cereal, fresh fruit, ice cream, and more!

Boberg’s Maple in Delevan

Known for their Maple Cream, visit Boberg’s for a tasty treat! Their process is more traditional, with older equipment adding to the charm of the Farm. Warm up to this family owned and operated business. Samples are available.

The Pancake House at Moore’s in Freedom

They’re still serving up “all you can eat” pancakes from January to mid-April! Their unique restaurant is also filled with a selection of antiques, including a washing machine, sleds, tools, chinaware, knickknacks, and other memorabilia. This year, they are offering wagon rides to the Sugar Shack, samples, and more fun! Discover why you will be travelling back to this Pancake House over and over again throughout the season.

Maple Glen Sugar House in Gowanda

About 40 miles south of Buffalo, they recently remodeled their sugarhouse. You can come in during Maple Weekends and see the evaporator at work, sample some goodies, and learn about their farm that started out 20 years ago and now takes care of over 4,000 taps! In the past, they had horse-drawn wagon rides, tours, and demonstrations as well as other food you can buy. See what surprises they have for you this year.

Bottles and decor at Cattaraugus County Maple Weekend

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Whatever farm you decide to go to, admission is FREE and all are more than happy to welcome you to their sugarhouse with a sweet, warm aroma of heated maple syrup. Each farm takes pride in their product and are happy to be doing what they are. Come to Cattaraugus County and embrace our agricultural side—your stomach will thank you!

Are two weekends not enough? Then keep a heads up for the Franklinville’s WNY Maple Festival April 24–25—two days of pancake eating, craft items, a parade, and live demonstrations. Read more about these events and places on our website, or get more information by calling 1-800-331-0543 or emailing info@enchantedmountains.com.

Excellent Park Attendance in 2015

The numbers are in and looking pretty good! Already this year, North Carolina, Wyoming, and Montana have each announced a third straight year of record attendance, while New York’s state campgrounds were the most popular they’ve ever been. Add to this the record 305 million visitors to our national parks, and it’s easy to see that many parks across the country fared well in getting people outside.

kayaker at sunset

Of course it’s never a bad time to be outside when you can enjoy a sunrise or sunset from a kayak at Lake Durant Campground in New York. [Image: dec.ny.gov/]

It wouldn’t be hard to speculate that this boost in attendance is because of increased park awareness through big events like First Day Hikes and National Trail Days as well as initiatives like Take a Child Outside Week and Every Kid in a Park. Or maybe it’s because parks are centering their attention and resources on making improvements to biking/multi-use trails and camping facilities as well as making parks more accessible to people of diverse abilities. And when you come down to it, cheaper gas prices, a stronger economy, and stretches of decent weather probably haven’t hurt much either. Regardless of what the parks are doing—whether advertising better, making attractive improvements to popular amenities, or a combination of those things—it’s working. All across the country, folks are looking to take full advantage of the public spaces we all share. And it is wonderful!

dessert flowers blooming

As wonderful as these luminous spring flowers blooming in the desert at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. [Image: buzzive.com/]

At their heart, these record attendance figures represent something larger and reveal something about the people attending the parks. Every visitor contributes to the conversation that surrounds the importance of large, open natural spaces that belong to all of us. Every visitor reinforces the relevance of places where one can get lost in their thoughts while taking a stroll on an earthen path, pass an afternoon doused in birdsong, sit on a fallen tree near a babbling creek, witness wildlife grazing on a distant hillside, hear the chattering of bats as they mitigate mosquito populations, stand in a stream to cast a fly, or any of the innumerable ways one can detoxify from the demands of modern life by engaging with landscapes.

This beauty is a waterfall at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. [Image: accessatlanta.com]

See? Without firsthand experience with rustling autumn leaves, cascading water, or the scent of wet stone, it’s hard to conceive of all the sensory delights that accompany this waterfall at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. [Image: accessatlanta.com/]

Each person who takes their child to a park to teach them how to fish, safely build a campfire and make s’mores, tell a story at that campfire, or study the history that is preserved and interpreted at parks across the country underscores the significance of the natural world in our cultural narrative, past and present. And, of course, it also lays the groundwork for what will hopefully be a nature-friendly future in an age of increasingly present technology and what can sometimes feel like a departure from the wildness and wilderness of our roots.

Even when the roots are buried under feet of snow and earth, it's not hard to feel close to them at Lake Easton State Park in Washington. [Image: outdoorproject.com]

Even when the roots are buried under feet of snow and earth, it’s not hard to feel close to them at Lake Easton State Park in Washington. [Image: outdoorproject.com/]

Whether you’re a solo adventurer or enjoy experiencing the majesty of nature with your family, children, dog, or friends, you know that our state and national parks are an invaluable resource and genuine treasure for all who visit and support them. So let’s leave off all that talk of virtual reality and go for the real stuff! Download a Pocket Ranger® mobile app, plan a trip to a park near you, and keep that conversation rolling.

How Now Sea Cow?

West Indian manatee.

A curious West Indian manatee. [Image: thedodo.com/]

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a proposal earlier this month centered on the idea of upgrading the presently endangered West Indian manatee’s (or sea cow) status from endangered to threatened. For background, the designation of “endangered” means that, without management, a species is on the slippery slope toward extinction, while “threatened” means that a species’ habitat and population are sustainable but don’t do a great job of promoting the animal’s collective proliferation (aka the species is in danger of becoming endangered). As such, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife motion is a reflection of the manatee’s “significant improvement” in population sustainability and habitat strength and has many leaping for joy. Though there has been some wariness to temper the excitement and applause as well.

The West Indian manatee has been a gentle, rotund protectee of the Federal Endangered Species Act since the act was signed in 1973, though manatees have been federally recognized as an endangered species since the 1960s. At the time the ESA came about, the manatee’s population had dwindled down to an estimated 700 because of factors like boat-related deaths and destruction of habitat, among other things. Today, with the estimate grown to over 6,000 individuals, the species seems headed in the right direction in terms of its stability. That’s genuine cause for celebration across the board, but some groups concerned with manatee conservation are focused on what might happen if the species doesn’t get the protection that comes with the “endangered” status as well as the looming problems associated with an environmental phenomenon called red tide.

Manatee eating.

Manatee enjoying a snack. [Image: imgur.com/]

An example of this quandary is playing out at present in Brevard County, Florida, one of the counties where many manatees live, and coincidentally, an area with one of the highest rates of manatee mortality in the state. The county commissioners approved a resolution to ask Florida wildlife leaders to conduct research on how effective boat speed restrictions are at protecting the manatees that inhabit the county’s waterways. Conversely, Katie Tripp, a leader in the Save the Manatee Club, feels that the relatively high number of boat-related injuries and fatalities among manatees in Brevard County will only increase if the speed restrictions vanish. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife proposal is open for public comment until April 7, 2016.

Manatee.

As anthropomorphic as it is round, this manatee is definitely emoting what you think it’s emoting. [Image: wikipedia.com/]

If you want to enjoy the manatee in its element, there are plenty of ways to do so! One especially great way to see some adorable, sea grass-chomping examples of the order Sirenia, is to download the Official Guide for Florida State Parks & Beaches app powered by Pocket Ranger® and to also make your way to any of the state parks on this map!